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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Leach Fired - Pirate afficianado Mike Leach was fired as Texas Tech's head coach today. More about this soon.

Happy Holidays!

No posts/podcasts until after the New Year (sorry I didn't mention it before), but one quick mention of last night's GLI game for the icers. MSU destroyed Michigan Tech 10-1, while U-M lost to RPI 4-3. This sets up for a very winnable MSU/RPI final tonight at the Joe. Student tickets are $10 at the door, so whip out those old ID's!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Big Ten's Statement on 12th Team

The Big Ten has released a statement about the possibility of adding a 12th team to the conference. Jim Delany didn't speak on the topic at 4pm as originally thought, which is sort of disappointing. All the statement really says is that the Big Ten Council of Presidents/Chancellors will basically look at the situation, and a recommendation will be given in 12 to 18 months. This is really a joke, considering the news coming out all day was that the Big Ten was all over a 12th member, and it seemed like it was somewhat imminent. An interesting note here is that MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon is actually the head of the council, something I had no idea about.

The Detroit Free Press has an interesting picture collage of suggestions as to a 12th team, all of whom I've heard mentioned before. Here's the official word from the Big Ten Council of Presidents/Chancellors on the addition of a 12th team:

Penn State joined the Big Ten Conference in June of 1990 and its addition has been an unqualified success. In 1993, 1998 and 2003, the COP/C, in coordination with the commissioner’s office, reviewed the issue of conference structure and expansion. The COP/C believes that the timing is right for the conference to once again conduct a thorough evaluation of options for conference structure and expansion. As a result, the commissioner was asked to provide recommendations for consideration by the COP/C over the next 12 to 18 months.

The COP/C understands that speculation about the conference is ongoing. The COP/C has asked the conference office to obtain, to the extent possible, information necessary to construct preliminary options and recommendations without engaging in formal discussions with leadership of other institutions. If and when such discussions become necessary the COP/C has instructed Commissioner James E. Delany to inform the Chair of the COP/C, Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon, and then to notify the commissioner of the affected conference(s). Only after these notices have occurred will the Big Ten engage in formal expansion discussions with other institutions. This process will allow the Big Ten to evaluate options, while respecting peer conferences and their member institutions. No action by the COP/C is expected in the near term. No interim statements will be made by the Big Ten or the COP/C until after the COP/C receives the commissioner’s recommendations and the COP/C determines next steps, if any, in this area.

Second All-America Honor for Greg Jones

Greg Jones has been named a first-team AP All-American today, a day after he was named an All-American by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA). Jones was the only Big Ten player named to the AP first-team, which is probably a reflection on the conference's recent bowl struggles. Pat Angerer, linebacker for Iowa, was the only other Big Ten player on the FWAA team with Jones.

Big Ten - 12th Team?

There may already a Big 12, but the Big Ten is, once again, chomping at the bit to add a 12th team, and this time they may be dead serious. Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany is expected to make a statement today at 4pm regarding expanding the conference. The move is likely being made to cut football into two, six-team divisions where the winners would play each other in a conference championship. It has been estimated this could add an additional $5 million in annual revenue for the conference, and also help with prestige, and bowl game rust.

I'm all for a 12th team, but I'm really undecided on who it should be, and whether the conference can afford to settle. The Big Ten and Delany would clearly love to hit the homerun with Notre Dame, but the Irish last turned down the offer in the late-90's, and aren't likely to come back to the table. It's really a shame, considering Notre Dame could definitely benefit from joining the Big Ten rather than living in their independent past. After the Irish, there are a bunch of Big East schools, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Syracuse, Louisville, and Rutgers, that could be potential matches. I have my issues with each of them, mainly fan support related, but I'll definitely post again after the news conference later and let you know where I stand on the announcement.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Podcast Monday - 12/14

MSU sports rule the 'cast again this week, as I try to focus on the positive movement of the other programs after talking about the trials and tribulations of the football team. The Pistons and Tigers cause me to go about five minutes over, which results in one comprehensive podcast . . . so click it!

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Greg Jones: All-American

I know I'm going crazy with the posts this morning, but Greg Jones was named a first-team All-American by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA). This is a huge honor, and much deserved for the major bright spot on the defensive side of the ball for MSU this season. Going into the Alamo Bowl, Jones has totaled up an outstanding 140 tackles, and 9 sacks.

Ingram Wins Heisman

Flint's own Mark Ingram, Jr. won the Heisman Trophy last night, becoming the first Alabama Crimson Tide player to win the award. Ingram barely beat out Stanford's Toby Gerhart, in what became the closest 1st-to-2nd finish in Heisman voting history. Ingram, going into this year's National Championship, has 1,542 yards on 6.2 YPC (my favorite stat, and boy is that high!), as well as 18 touchdowns. The ceremony was attended by Ingram's mother and grandparents.

It stinks the Spartans couldn't suck him into East Lansing when we had the chance, but Saban used to be an assistant when Mark Ingram, Sr. played for MSU. Bobby Williams was also said to be instrumental in Ingram's recruitment to Tuscaloosa. On top of his Heisman accolades, Flint Mayor Dayne Walling named yesterday "Mark Ingram, Jr. Day" on behalf of the Flint Southwestern Academy alum.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Series Sweep Against BGSU for Icers

Hockey gets the series sweep this weekend, beating Bowling Green 4-1 Saturday night at Munn Ice Arena. As I mentioned in my hockey update a few days ago, I was hoping to see Corey Tropp put up some points this weekend to get the Spartans back going for the rest of the CCHA season, and he did just that with a hat trick Saturday night. The Falcons aren't exactly a conference giant, but a win is a win no matter how you get it.

Friday, December 11, 2009

MSU Football: Twelve Total Suspended

I noted yesterday that Myles White was number eleven in the suspension total, but he was really number twelve apparently. White was hit with Minor in Possession and Urinating in Public charges, which stemmed from the Small Planet incident, the one all the other suspensions are tied to, on November 22. I know this list has gotten kind of confusing (I know I'm confused), so I'll try to simplify things with this list:

Those kicked off the team from the Nov. 22 Small Planet/Rather Hall incident:

1. Glenn Winston (RB)
2. Roderick Jenrette (S)

Those initially suspended from the Nov. 22 Small Planet/Rather Hall incident:

3. B.J. Cunningham (WR)
4. Mark Dell (WR)
5. Ashton Leggett (RB)
6. Chris L. Rucker (CB)
7. Fred Smith (WR)
8. Brynden Trawick (S)
9. Ishmyl Johnson (DT)
10. Jamiihr Williams (LB)

Those suspended from the Nov. 22 Small Planet/Rather Hall incident following arraignment:

11. Chris D. Rucker (WR)
12. J'Michael Deane (OT)
13. Donald Spencer (WR)

Those suspended for charges only from Small Planet unrelated to the Rather Hall incident:

14. Myles White (WR)

As you see, the total is fourteen, but I'm not counting Winston or Jenrette when I say there are "Twelve Total Suspended" as they've been let go from the roster. You'll also notice that "WR" pops up SIX times total in that list. This means that Blair White, Keyshawn Martin and the tight end corp will be carrying the load for the Spartans in the receiving game against Texas Tech in the Alamo Bowl on January 2.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

MSU Football Suspensions Up To 11 - I haven't wanted to talk about it, that's why I haven't written anything. Myles White's UIP/MIP means I will later though.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

MSU Hockey Update

I haven't really mentioned the icers since before Thanksgiving, so I figured I'd give a brief update. They lost a couple bad ones to WCHA/Big Ten foes Wisconsin and Minnesota, 7-3 and 2-1 respectively. Since those weren't conference games, I didn't really feel the need to comment. However, they bounced back last weekend with a win and an overtime loss against Northern Michigan up in Marquette.

This coming week the Spartans play a home-and-home against a Bowling Green squad that has struggled to say the least so far this season. The Falcons have only two wins so far, both being in-conference. I'm not saying they're a puff team, but it would be nice to see Corey Tropp put a couple past Bowling Green's Nick Eno to get the scoring going. MSU currently sits second in the CCHA, behind the #1 ranked Miami Redhawks, with 23 points and a CCHA record of 7-3-2.

#24 MSU - 66, #8 Xavier- 53

Well, the women continue to confuse us all, as they upset #8 Xavier tonight 66-53 at the Breslin Center. I really can't get a read on this team, and their leaders in Aitch, DeHaan and Jefferson are just as inconsistent as the rest of the roster. MSU was in control most of the game, as the Spartans had a 9 point halftime lead. It was all DeHaan for the Spartans too, as she poured in 22 with 13 boards. Wins over two top 10 teams is great, but it's also weird they lost their Big Ten home opener to an average Indiana squad.
Sorry guys, but this is a test from my cell to see if twitterfeed will work with my Sparty Sports mobile updates. I'll post something later today.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Brian Kelly hired by Notre Dame according to More on this tomorrow, but I can't imagine he coaches Cincy in the bowl game.

Tigers' Granderson, Jackson Gone

The Detroit Tigers traded the ever-popular Curtis Granderson to the Yankees, and starting pitcher Edwin Jackson to the Diamondbacks today for a reliever and prospects. Phil Coke would come to the Tigers from the Yanks, as the Tigers desperately need an arm in the bullpen after the recent arbitration turn-down by Brandon Lyon. Detroit also gets a top-rated starting pitching prospect from Arizona in the form of Max Scherzer, and a future replacement in center-field for Granderson in Austin Jackson from New York. The Diamondbacks also get Ian Kennedy from the Yankees.

As for my opinion, this is bound to be a mostly unpopular trade. Curtis was very popular in a Tigers uniform, and participated in many community events. Everyone looked at him as a great guy, and Detroit, believe me, loves to reward loyalty and simply "being a nice guy" with big money contracts. It appears the departure of Granderson, as well as the effective starting pitcher Jackson, were for economic reasons. It wasn't so much the health of the Detroit economy, but more that Mike Illitch, an owner in a smaller market, had spent beyond the means of any mid-market owner by having a top-5 payroll. The roll of the dice that was giving Ordonez his at-bats turned out to be a huge, $18 million to be exact, mistake, which probably tipped the scales. It doesn't look good for the short term, but the long term outlook, especially after dumping huge contracts the next couple of years, will look much rosier with these new prospects and more money to spend.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Podcast Monday - 12/7

Takin' over the game this week with MSU Alamo Bowl talk, BCS/Notre Dame complaints, and some basketball discussion to top it all off. Click above, click below, just click somewhere and listen!

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Sunday, December 6, 2009

Nevermind. MSU vs. Texas Tech in Alamo on Jan. 2nd. Preview coming soon.
Source tells me to expect MSU to be in the Insight Bowl against Iowa State after the bowl worked a deal with the Alamo. I'll try to post more later.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Izzo Angry About Roy Williams' Shot at Roe

Roy Williams took an indirect shot at MSU power forward Delvon Roe in his book "Hard Work: My Life On and Off the Court," and then a more direct one on Tuesday after the UNC/MSU game. In the book, Williams mentions a recruit that was going to be headed to Chapel Hill to play for his Tar Heels, but then "lied" to him by going to MSU instead. On Tuesday, Williams, speaking about Delvon Roe, stated that Roe "said he was coming, let's be honest."

Suffice it to say, Tom Izzo is not happy about Williams' comments relating to Roe, and about how it makes Izzo and the program look.  Roe didn't say anything in response to what Williams has claimed, which has made Izzo "very proud of how he handled it." Izzo was angry enough about the ordeal that he stated that "[t]he other thing I thought was wrong was the insinuation like, almost, that Michigan State did something wrong to get him. So he picked the wrong kid, he picked the wrong family and he picked the wrong program."

USA Draws England's Group C for World Cup

The draw just came out, and the U.S. will start things off in Group C with a match against England on June 12th. I'll write a column about it later, but I think this is a decent draw. England always seems to be a tad overrated, and hasn't had a ton of recent World Cup success.

Notre Dame Not Going Bowling

To quote Allen Iverson, "[h]ow silly is that?" If the multiple reports are true, like those from AOL Fanhouse and the Chicago Tribune, are true, and the players voted on whether to go to the bowl game, I CANNOT believe that they wouldn't go. You're telling me that the seniors on that Notre Dame team wouldn't want to go out one last time, put on the blue and gold, and end a career-ending four game losing streak? If Charlie Weis really recruited that many student-athletes that didn't have enough pride to play one last game as a member of the Fighting Irish, then he really never should've been hired.

I know that there are reasons program-wise for Notre Dame not to go, many pointed out by Brian Bennett on, but it's still crazy to me to turn this down. I'm sure many Irish fans pulled the "if we have to go to a crap bowl game, we're not gonna go at all" nonsense, but that doesn't fly with me. Play one last game, likely against a decent Central Michigan team, and try to get above .500 on the year. One positive, even if it would be a small one, out of a dismal season should be enough of a reason to head to Detroit or Mobile.

#21 MSU - 72, #4 UNC - 66

The men couldn't get it done against the Tar Heels, but the women sure could. Suzy Merchant's team beat UNC 72-66 at the Breslin Center last night in the MSU women's Big Ten/ACC challenge game. Lauren Aitch led the way with 15 points, and Alyssa DeHaan put in 14, all in the second half, to overcome 29 by UNC's leading scorer Italee Lucas. DeHaan was limited in the first half, playing only two minutes, due to foul troubles. The Spartans also won the battle on the boards, out rebounding the Tar Heels 42-39. This was the first time the North Carolina women ever visited the Breslin Center.

This is a nice win for MSU, as it helps you forget the opening loss to Dayton on the road, and the one-point heartbreaker to Notre Dame. These are the games top-10 preseason teams are supposed to win. Maybe Tom should've had the boys come in to watch this one so they could see what winning a marquee out-of-conference game looked like. In a weird scheduling quirk, MSU plays their first Big Ten game, their next being weeks away, on Sunday against Indiana at home.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Lying Led to Suspensions by Dantonio

It was revealed earlier this week that eight more Spartan football players, including starters Mark Dell, B.J. Cunningham, and Chris L. Rucker, were at least present during the Rather Hall fight from November 22. All those involved have been suspended indefinitely, but may not have participated in any violent acts.

MSU Board of Trustees Chairman Joel Ferguson states that the players recently suspended, those that aren't Roderick Jenerette or Glenn Winston, were suspended for lying to Head Coach Mark Dantonio about their whereabouts when the beating occurred. Dantonio has simply stated that there was a "violation of team rules," but has not specifically stated what that violation was. Ferguson has also stated that the claim players were wearing ski was not true.

Either way, I do laud Dantonio for suspending those players for lying, but shouldn't they also be suspended for just standing by while Jenrette and Winston wailed on the victims? Ferguson is going a little too far by stating that "[t]hey told the coach they weren’t there. That’s what they’re suspended for. It’s nothing." It is something, Joel, when players watch their friends beat up someone, don't do anything, and then lie about it. I'm just not sure if keeping them from playing in a bowl game is enough of a punishment.

Any thoughts on this incident? Please comment!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Quick Hits - 12/2

MSU/UNC Debacle - That's how I'll describe this thing. Shot 43% from the field compared to the Tar Heels' 58%, that's not gonna get it done. It was certainly kinda nuts that they appeared to hit every shot, whether there was a hand in the face or not. What's really troubling was the ability for Ed Davis to take over in the post. He was dominating in there, and I'm really afraid that Big Ten 4's and 5's, like JaJuan Johnson of Purdue and Michigan's DeShawn Sims, will do the same during conference play. At least the play of Raymar Morgan has been encouraging so far, as he's got his scoring average back up to double digits, and led scorers on Tuesday with 18.

Notre Dame's Coaching Situation - Hard to figure this thing out. A report from this morning stated that Brian Kelly is set to become the Irish's next coach. However, a conflicting, albeit far fetched, report came out this afternoon that said Bob Stoops was the main man for the job. Whoever it is, they'll likely lose Jimmy Clausen and Golden Tate, and just won't have the talent to make a quick rebound. The new coach better recruit, and quickly, if they want to avoid the short-term temper wrath of the ND fans.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Eight players suspended for football from the dorm incident, including Mark Dell and B.J. Cunningham. More later.